x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

How it happened: Webber wins first GP

Mark Webber leads Red Bull to a one-two finish at the Nurburgring to close Brawn's lead in the championship.

Mark Webber celebrates his maiden  win on the podium at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
Mark Webber celebrates his maiden win on the podium at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Mark Webber overcomes a drive-through penalty to lead a Red Bull one-two at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. Sebastian Vettel's second place cuts Jenson Button's championship lead by two points after the Briton could only finish fifth behind Felipe Massa, the Ferrari driver, in third and the Williams of Nico Rosberg in fourth. Rubens Barrichello finished sixth ahead of Fernando Alonso in seventh and Heikki Kovalainen completing the points placings in eighth.] Here is how the race unfolded. MARK WEBBER WINS GERMAN GRAND PRIX Lap 60 Mark Webber wins his first ever grand prix. Vettel takes second. Superb drive by the Red Bulls. Massa clinches third, Rosberg climbs 11 places to finish fourth. Button, Barrichello and Alonso cross the line. Kovalainen grabs eighth. Lap 59 Barrichello is warned via the radio that Alonso fancies his chances on turn 13. The Red Bull pit-wall get ready for Webber. Lap 57 The trio are reeling in Rosberg in fourth with two laps to go. Webber's lead is down to nine seconds, but he is protecting his car for the next race. Lap 56 Alonso has bags of pace, he is right on the rear-wing of Barrichello, who is protecting Button's placing. Lap 55 The top eight remain unchanged. The battle for eighth is still on, Glock is getting closer. He has dragged Heidfeld and Nakajima into the pack. Alonso is on the back of Barrichello. He is shaving tenths off the Brawn pair. Lap 54 Webber holds a 15 second lead over Vettel. Massa is six behind Vettel. The big scrap is for eighth between Heikki and Timo Glock, who has led a dull race. Lap 53 The top eight with seven laps to go: Webber, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg, Button, Barrichello, Alonso and Kovalainen. Lap 50-51 Barrichello pits first, Button will try and put in a fast lap. Button pits straight after. He gets out in front of his Brazilian teammate. Lap 49 Rosberg is in. It is turning out to be a brilliant day for Australia. Alonso finds some pace and puts in the quickest lap. Lap 47 The race is settled now. Rosberg, Barrichello and Button still need to pit. Lap 45 Massa pits, He looks good for his first podium of the season meaning that parc firme could be without a Brawn driver there for the first time this season. Barrichello leads Button but the championship leader looks a bit quicker in the final stages of the race. Lap 43 Vettel pits, he comes out in sixth, but a second place finish is on the cards today. The Brawns have slowed up dramatically during the last stint of the race. Lap 41 Button is weaving. He has a tyre temperature problem again. Webber pits for his final stop. He is behind Vettel, but the German has to pit also. Massa is still third. Lap 40 The radar says that there will be no rain for 30 minutes. Just doing the maths in my head here. Bear with me, that should mean that if the rain does arrive, we will be on the last lap. Red Bull hold a one-two. Massa and Rosberg third and fourth. Lap 38 It looks very dark over-head as Kovalainen and Alonso are battling it out for seventh and eighth. Lap 37 As you were at the front. Button is keeping pace in fourth. Rosberg, Barrichello, Kovalainen and Alonso make up the top eight. Lap 36 This could be interesting. Massa is driving very well and could be on for a podium. He is keeping Vettel honest. His race engineer tells the German to pull away from him. It is not that easy. The clouds are closing in around the track. But it is forcasted to stay away. Lap 33-34 Button glides past Raikkonen. But the Finn appears to have a problem as everyone is doing the same. It is Red Bull one-two and Barrichello is in the pits again with more fuel. There was a nozzle problem and it did not fuel. Red Bull look nailed on now. Kimi retires. Webber sets the fastest lap. Lap 32 Barrichello comes in to the pits. Webber is in a dominant position now. Button is stuck with the two Ferrari's in front of him. Taking into account scheduled pit stops, Webber has a massive advantage, Barrichello should be scond and Vettel claiming third. Lap 30-31 Webber is closing in on Rubens. Red Bull look strong on that front. However Vettel and Button's battle for third is in the favour of the Brawn. Raikkonen and Sutil's incident is to be investigated at the end of the race. Button pits again. Splash 'n' dash he re-emerges in seventh. Lap 28 Sutil is in again for repairs. De ja vu for Adrian who had Kimi in the back of him at Monaco last year when he was due for points. Barrichello complains of vibration at his back-end. He leads Webber by 3.8 seconds. Webber is in a good position. Lap 27 Sutil pits, Rosberg is the final man to pit, he takes over second place, Webber, Button, Vettel, Massa all pass. He tries to prevent Raikkonen from doing the same on the pit-exit and they collide. No... Kimi had the line, Sutil should have yielded and debris goes flying. Lap 26 Massa pits and comes out ninth just behind Vettel. That is a plus for the Red Bull driver. Sutil, still yet to pit is in second. Barrichello needs to pull a big lead before his second pit stop. Webber is fourth behind Nico Rosberg who is one-stopping. Button fifth. Lap 24 Raikkonen pits from third. This is a real intriguing race. Massa should pit next, but he has spoiled Barrichello for the last few laps. That said, Kubica is holding back Webber. Lap 22 Button and Webber are tucked up behind the BMW of Kubica. They are dicing with each other. Vettel is 15 seconds behind Button after the first pits. Button has a chance of finishing ahead of the German despite needing an extra pit-stop between now and the end of the race. Lap 20-21 Bourdais retires. That could be his last grand prix amid the speculation of his Torro Rosso exit. Barrichello is getting frustrated by the slow leading Ferrari of Massa. Vettel pits and comes out ahead of Kovalainen in 12th. Lap 19 Seb Bourdais has a spin and he pits. Webber comes in for his first. Massa leads and looks quite solid. Webber comes out in seventh, just ahead of Button. Webber looks in good shape. If he keeps a clean race from now on he could still win. Barrichello has to pit again twice. Lap 16-17 Adrian Sutil is driving a steady race in sixth. It is a great chance for Force India to get their first points on the board. His teammate Giancarlo Fisichella is ninth. Sterling stuff from the back-markers. Massa in second looks slow and Barrichello is all over his gearbox. Vettel surprisingly has dropped off the back, looks like he may be protecting his tyres. Lap 15 Heikke pits, Button comes out in front of him. Good result for Brawn. Webber has a 10 second lead over Massa in second. Barrichello is third and Vettel fourth. Lap 14 Webber takes his punishment and comes out in front of Kovalainen. Barrichello pitted at the same time. He gets out in front of Vettel in fourth. That is a massive result for the Brazilian. The McLaren driver is packing up the field. Lap 13 Button pits, he says on the radio that he lacks grip. It is a scheduled stop. He just could not make any in-roads on Heikke Kovalainen. He comes out in 14th. Lap 11 Unbelievable, Webber, gunning for his first win has been pinged by the race stewards and has a drive-through penalty. Harsh, but the race is blown wide-open. Lap 10 It is as you were. Button is due to pit in in the next two laps. He will need to drive like the wind when he comes out. Lap 8-9 Hamilton has been in the pits and is being lapped by the front-runners. He has the hard tyres on and a heavy load. Shame for the world champion. Cars 14 and 23 are under investigation. That's Webber and Barrichello. It was a racing incident when the two collided at the start and a penalty for either would be harsh. Lap 7 Webber's engineer tells him to look after his tyres. Barrichello in first holds a 12 second lead over Vettel in sixth. Lap 5 The placings are scrambled still, Barrichello and Webber are set, but their teammates Button and Vettel need to pass the slower guys in front of them. These four are the only ones with genuine pace. This killing Button's race. When he pits he will be back out in the lower end of the field. Lap 3 The gap is now eight seconds. Kovalainen's Kers is keeping Button at bay. Vettel is sixth and is held up by Massa, The race is finally settling down. Lap 2 Hamilton limps into the pits. Vettel has a spin, Barrichello and Webber are pulling away from Kovalainen in third who is holding up the grid somewhat. Button is behind him with the Ferrari duo of Raikkonen and Massa sixth and seventh. Sutil eighth. Lap 1 And we are off! They touched. Barrichello and Webber touched. Hamilton makes a wonderful start but goes wide into the first corner. It looks like he may have a puncture and he goes to the back of the grid, We will get back to you on that one. At the front Webber and Barrichello settle down as first and second. The grid completed the procession lap, ambling through the beautiful backdrop. The Brawns are in for a pit-stop six or seven laps before the Red Bulls. Ouch. They need a clean start or their race could be scuppered. Fernando Alonso had a spin in the warm-up he recovers.

---------------------------------- Hello and welcome to the Nurburgring for the German Grand Prix, the ninth round of the Formula One season. It is 20 minutes until race time and the weather seems to be brightening up around the Eifel Mountains. This will suit the likes of Mark Webber at the front. It also helps Lewis Hamilton on the third row who with have the Kers boost down the lengthy straight into the first corner. Our man in the know, The National's Graham Caygill says: "Red Bull look good to dominate again. Webber and Vettel are in prime position to take the charge towards the Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. "They appear to be a bit heavier from qualifying than Button and Barrichello, so a solid start could put them in good stead for the rest of the race. "The McLarens have improved considerably since Britain. I predict a points finish for both. Lewis has the Kers boost for the start, and could make some headway early on, but they are off the pace of the two front rows to mount a podium challenge today." Here we go then, the F1 season could be blown wide open today if the Red Bulls produce a one-two. Lap-by-lap coverage is on its way from the beautiful Nurburgring circuit. ---------------------------------

There is a Red Bull on pole today, but it is not the home crowd favourite Sebastian Vettel, but his teammate Mark Webber who hopes that he can forge a championship push as the second half of the season commences after a three week break. Webber, in his 130th start, becomes the first Australian since former world champion Alan Jones at Hockenheim in 1980 to claim pole. Joining Webber on the front row is Rubens Barrichello, who edged the championship leader Jenson Button by over a tenth in qualifying. Vettel is fourth and the two McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen occupy the third row. Rain made the second period of qualifying chaotic, and with tires struggling to work in miserable 12 degree temperatures, virtually every driver has found the past two days tough to deal with. With rain forecast, Webber's hopes of finally standing on the top step of the podium will arguably rely more on luck than judgment. "I've been close to getting pole a few times in the past, and now we're here I'm in a fantastic position to get my first win," said Webber, who has Brawn GP duo Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button right behind him. "Obviously the Brawns have had a strong season and will push us, but we're up for the fight ? I certainly am ? and I'm up for trying to win my first race. "A nice boring grand prix for me would be fantastic. I'm looking forward to a dry day, but if it's wet then we're ready for all conditions. "We know we can compete and fight in any condition thrown at us. "It if rains it will be more difficult, no doubt about it, a real test for the drivers as we've seen in Shanghai and other places, but we'll have to deal with it. It will be the same for everybody. The race starts at 4pm UAE time, so join us then for what could be a dramatic and chaotic race to kick-start the season. snelmes@thenational.ae